|HOME | NEWS | HEADLINES|
|April 3, 2000|
Store owner fights French laws
A P Kamath
An immigrant from south Asia settled in Montreal and accused of not speaking adequate French has found strong backers -- the English-speaking politicians who are critical of the French Canadian citizens who are intent on seceding from Canada.
Rahman Khan, who migrated to Canada from Bangladesh, readily admits that his French is just functional but since his French customers are not complaining, he does not understand why the government is interfering. The government language inspectors have told him that he should either get out of running the shop, or improve his French within the next few months, or employ a fluent French speaker.
Khan says family responsibilities restrict his educational plans. As for employing another store, Khan, who works for over 10 days in his store along with his wife, cannot afford to pay an extra person.
The newspapers in Canada reported yesterday that Quebec Province's Commission de Protection de la Langue Francais, responding to anonymous complaints.
Khan has found enough defenders in the Indian and Pakistani communities, too. French Canadian politicians who back up secessionist plans do not like foreign immigrants, especially south Asians. The south Asians voted against secession in a referendum more than a year ago. The secessionists lost by a small margin.
Khan's lawyer, Brent Tyler, who is being paid by the English rights group Alliance Quebec, accused the commission of harassing his client who turned 35 recently and has lived in Quebec for the last six years.
"Their approach seems to be that Khan doesn't speak French like Moliere,'' said Brent Tyler, referring to the famous French playwright, the Canadian newspapers said.
"But the reality is he owns a depanneur (store) and if you want to go in there and buy cigarettes, he can certainly serve you."
Khan says he believes the complaint may have more to do with jealousy or intolerance. It is the color of his skin that might have bothered some people, he thinks.
SINGLES | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEATHER | MILLENNIUM | BROADBAND | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK